I have found this post difficult to write. Not because I don’t have incredible things to say about 2012, quite the contrary. It’s that I don’t believe I have fully digested the lessons of 2012.
I didn’t realize I had been gathering fuel for this project for 6 year, and all I needed was ignition. That spark came Dec 13, 2011. I received an email from Susan Mees from WEGO health.
I’m writing to let you know that you have been nominated for one of our 2011Health Activist Awards by someone in your community. The first-ever Health Activist Awards will recognize Health Activists for the great things they’ve accomplished this year. Your nomination has put you in the running to win an Award. Congratulations!
An award? Wow. At that point, I had seen the blog as a personal diary. No one in my life had willingly sat me down and wanted to hear my version of how my health derailed my life. Sure, I saw a few therapist, but that was me reaching out for help. No one had reached out in the way I had needed them too. I was on autopilot, driving on the wrong side of the highway, praying for a head-on collision and no one knew it!
The blog became my mentor. I wrote, it didn’t judge, and I wrote some more. I didn’t have a direction for the blog, or want to turn the blog into an affiliate money making machine! LOL. I needed this blog. I envisioned one spectator out there that was interested in hearing about my story. I wrote to that one witness.
I was fully engrossed with MYSELF!
I only saw MY story, MY journey, MY tragedy, MY hurt, MY pain, MY grief, MY loss!
I was growing and purging emotionally in 2011, but something was missing! I had no clue how to turn off the cruise control of fear. I had worked myself through the stages of grief with assistance of a therapist, but I was AFRIAD! NOW WHAT? How do I live a life with a hidden disability?
The email from WEGO health contained a link to additional awards and nominees. I began following the nomination and award process and found myself devouring each nominee and their story. I became obsessed with their journey’s and how they were living despite chronic illness.
Dec 15, 2011 blog post: Reflection, monition, idea, execution…
For a moment, I found myself lost in another person’s story and passion. After reading several nominees blogs, I had a thought. Could a shift in focus away from vestibular struggles help me through my vestibular struggles? Educating myself on other medical conditions and focusing on another person’s journey may be the best way for me to pull through my own condition.
Dec 18, 2011, I put together a video blog.
The 12-12-12 project was birthed and I got to work.
It wasn’t about MY story, MY journey, MY tragedy, MY hurt, MY pain, MY grief, MY loss!
It was about Their story, Their journey, Their tragedy, Their hurt, Their pain, Their grief, Their loss!
I became the person I needed that never came. I wanted to hear their stories, learn about their conditions and spread awareness! I became so invested in this project that I was often distracted by my own personal struggles living a vestibular disorder.
If I felt fatigued, I would think of Kim and her struggles living with a Budd- Chiari Syndrome, and the fatigue that engulfs her.
If I didn’t want to walk for exercise, I would think of Peachy living with a form of arthritis called Ankylosing spondylitis that requires her to exercise to maintain flexibility in her joints.
If I didn’t want to take a shower because I was down and depressed, I would think of my dear friend Blake. He would love to hop out of his wheelchair and jump into the shower, but Spinal Muscular Atrophy has taken that from him.
If I could choose a single lesson from this project to share with you, it would be this….
Actively search for and wholeheartedly listen to another persons story. You will create a synergy of emotional healing for the both of you! There is power in numbers.
Thank you to EACH project member for opening yourselves up to share your story.
January: Blake Watson
Condition: Spinal Muscular Atrophy
February: Kim M.
Condition: Budd-Chiari Syndrome
March: Amy Gurowitz
April: Rhiann Johns ( Thank you to Mrs. Johns!:)
Condition: Long-standing brain stem lesion and spastic paraparesis
May: Sara Gorman
June: Dale Lehn
Condition: Chronic Pain
Condition: Ankylosing spondylitis
August: Sarah Levis
Condition: Arteriovenous malformations (AVM)
September: Sarah Mills
Condition: Severe multiple allergies, covering asthma, hay fever, eczema, food allergies and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)
October and November: Andi and Jett Durkin
Condition: Down Syndrome
December: Pam Sloate
From the bottom of my heart, I love you all and THANK YOU for disabling my life autopilot, putting me back on the right side of the road, and keeping me from a head on collision.